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  • Author: Charles T. Hunt
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Since first deployed in 1960, United Nations police (UNPOL) have consistently been present in UN missions and have become increasingly important to achieving mission objectives. Since 1999, these objectives have often included the protection of civilians (POC), especially in places like the Central African Republic, Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, and South Sudan. But despite its rise in prominence, the protective role of UNPOL is generally undervalued and regularly overlooked, and missions have tended to overly rely on militarized approaches to POC. This report examines the roles and responsibilities of UNPOL regarding POC. It outlines UNPOL’s contributions to POC and perceived comparative advantages, using examples of their role as compeller, deterrent, partner, and enabler. It also identifies and draws lessons from challenges to police protection efforts, including ambiguous mandates, policies, and guidance; poor coordination; problematic partnerships; and deficits in capabilities, capacities, and tools. Drawing on these lessons from past and current deployments, the report proposes recommendations for how member states, the Security Council, the UN Secretariat, and field missions can improve UNPOL’s efforts to protect civilians going forward. These recommendations include: Clarifying the role of UN police in POC through mandates, policies, guidance, and training to align the expectations of UN peace operations, the Secretariat, and member states for what UNPOL are expected to do; Involving all UN police in POC and giving them a voice in decision making and planning to infuse whole-of-mission POC efforts with policing perspectives and empower UNPOL to act more readily; Enhancing partnerships between UN police, host states, and other mission components to enable more responsive, better coordinated, and more comprehensive approaches to POC; and Providing more appropriate and more flexible capabilities, capacities, and tools to address critical capabilities gaps and adapt existing resources to better meet UNPOL’s latent potential for POC.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Reform, Rule of Law, Civilians, Police
  • Political Geography: Africa, Darfur, Mali, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Congo
  • Author: Lesley Connolly, Laura Powers, Senzwesihle Ngubane, Patrick Kanyangara, Kessy Ekomo-Soignet, Nicolas Chamat Matallana, Stephen Kirimi, Hasini Haputhanthri, Masana Ndinga-Kanga, Webster Zambara
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In recent years, there have been increasing calls to ensure local ownership of peacebuilding design and practice, to take local knowledge fully into account in designing peacebuilding programs and assessing conflicts, and to strive for the meaningful participation of local peacebuilding actors. In the search for new approaches to connect local-level initiatives to international programs and to move local knowledge from the bottom up, community-led peacebuilding networks may have a key role to play. This volume includes case studies of community-led peacebuilding networks in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Kenya, Liberia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe to identify approaches for more inclusive and integrated peacebuilding. These case studies, written by local peacebuilders working in each of the countries, underscore the organizational, political, and financial advantages and risks to operating as part of a broader network. The aim of this report is to enhance understanding among international peacebuilding practitioners and policymakers of peacebuilding network structures, including their comparative advantages and challenges. In doing so, it aims to guide efforts not only to incorporate local knowledge and expertise into international initiatives but also to identify how these efforts can support and magnify local efforts. By better understanding how local peacebuilding networks operate in their communities, the international community can begin to better understand the challenges local organizations face, how to support and strengthen peacebuilding work on the ground, and how such initiatives contribute to building and sustaining peace.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Women, Youth, Networks, Peace, Community
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, South Asia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Central African Republic
  • Author: Ralph Mamiya
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Engaging non-state armed groups (NSAGs) is an essential tool for the protection of civilians (POC), a priority mandate and core objective for peace operations. Beyond the use of force to prevent or stop armed groups from threatening local populations, multidimensional missions can use a wide range of unarmed strategies, such as dialogue and engagement, to counter hostilities from non-state actors. This paper looks at how, when, and why UN missions engage with NSAGs. It gives an overview of current practice, drawing on the experiences of the missions in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mali. It then examines the risks of engaging NSAGs and how POC mandates can help missions navigate these risks. Finally, it looks at peace operations’ unique capacities to engage with NSAGs and how best to leverage them. Civilian protection is ever more urgent, and engaging NSAGs is crucial to this work. A pragmatic approach, anchored in POC considerations, can help guide missions through potentially polarizing debates and safeguard UN principles while simultaneously allowing them to adapt more effectively to the challenges they face.
  • Topic: United Nations, Non State Actors, Peacekeeping, Armed Forces, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Central Asia, Mali, Central African Republic, Congo